Paper of the day: Update

Still tweaking the Paper of the day. I was able to get an RSS feed that seeks out only content with a fulltext item attached. I am still playing with the #hashtags. Which is the best and most descriptive? I tried article du jour for a while, but that puts my material in a host of  French language materials — and ours are primarily but not exclusively English. #POTD is a bit cryptic, and also linked us to photos, which were not necessarily *Disney*. blush. I’m still working on that bit. I like using #OpenAccess but I also want to highlight our Repository. Unfortunately it has an @ symbol in its name, so I cannot use that successfully. I’ve started adding the twitter handle of our University, too.


Also I’d like to know if this helps with discoverability in any meaningful way — and if that in turn means more citations.? I will ponder how I might assess that. . .




Well-formed, standardized metadata is a necessity for the discovery, access, preservation, and sharing of digital objects.

Gordo the Barosaurus, Royal Ontario Museum

“Full Barosaurus, Royal Ontario Museum” by KristyVan – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons –,_Royal_Ontario_Museum.jpg#/media/File:Full_Barosaurus,_Royal_Ontario_Museum.jpg

When the Royal Ontario Museum prepared to launch a revitalised Dinosaur Gallery in the new wing of the Crystal addition in 2007, paleontologist David Evans, the new Associate Curator of Vertebrate Palaeontology, wished to display a type of sauropod, a group of dinosaurs including Barosaurus. This massive creature would join the existing exhibit of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, a Triceratops, and a Stegosaurus. He spent months investigating options, which included purchasing a replica skeleton or even finding one to dig up, but to his surprise, “while reading an article by famed sauropod expert Jack McIntosh something caught his eye — a reference to a Barosaurus skeleton at the ROM”. 1   There was no record of the dinosaur in ROM catalogues,  though its bones had been scattered in several drawers for safe keeping. The former curator, who had brought the Barosaurus with him to ROM over 40 years ago, had long since retired, and although he had written a paper on the subject, no member of the present team realised what they had in the collection.

How does one misplace a 90-foot, 15 tonne sauropod,  the largest dinosaur the world has ever known?​   By neglecting description and metadata of your data. In the age of Googling, the need for cataloguing may seem as extinct as dinosaurs, but well-formed, standardized metadata is a necessity for the discovery, access, preservation, and sharing of digital objects.

1 Massive Barosaurus skeleton discovered at the ROM Tuesday, November 13, 2007 (accessed 20 April 2015)

Strengthening Scholarship: how librarians and archivists are central to academic discovery

Courtesy UWOFA Communications

Academic librarians and archivists at Western are a vital part of the university’s core mission of teaching and research. Whether it’s working with graduate students to unearth archived documents, collaborating with faculty, or conducting research, librarians and archivists are central to academic discovery. Our librarian and archivist colleagues are currently negotiating with the university administration for a fair and equitable collective agreement. Below are just a few stories that highlight the important work they are doing.

Strengthening Scholarship: how librarians and archivists are central to academic discovery

Breathing new life into centuries-old classical music

It’s nearly midnight when Gianna McGrath clicks on the link and leans in for a closer look. The glow from her laptop may be artificial, but everything about the music on the screen feels real to McGrath, a third-year music education student who’s been playing the violin for as long as she can remember.

She zooms in on the page and is blown away. Rather than just another generic piece of sheet music, she’s looking at a digital copy of the 1762 edition of Thomas Arne’s opera Artaxerxes – one of the most important to survive. It’s very late in the evening, but the thing about classical musicians is they have a deep desire to connect with the original. McGrath can’t help but let herself explore the details – the beautiful notes, the discolouration, even the title page proclaiming it was to be performed at the “Theatre Royal in Covent Garden” in London, England.

“It was really gorgeous,” McGrath explained. “To actually be able to see an original manuscript of something, or to see an original copy of music, it kind of takes you back, gives you another perspective of how they wrote music then. And then when you go to play it, you understand how they wrote this because you understand the times, you understand what their life was like … which is important to channel into the musical part, the performance.”

McGrath’s experience with Arne’s 253-year-old score was made possible thanks to a digitization project led by academic librarians at Western. To date, digital photos have been taken of about 1,500 entire musical manuscripts and scores and are freely available to anyone with an Internet connection. Too fragile to be signed out and handled, the originals are protected in the Archives and Research Collections Centre – known colloquially as “the ARCC”.

For Joanne Paterson, a metadata management librarian who oversaw the initiative, the music contained on those pages sitting in the ARCC could have new life. Digitally preserving centuries-old materials not only makes these important works accessible, but also supports new modes of scholarship. Indeed, after liaising with Brian McMillan, director of the Music Library, professor Robert Toft’s graduate students will utilize the original Artaxerxes and perform a version of it next year.

“By making these images available online, students can take a look at them, they can print off a copy of the original and write on it,” Paterson said. “They can make their own annotations on the music without hurting the original … They’re so excited and thrilled to be able to have it, and it’s great to know that I helped them get there. That’s the joy of making this happen.”

Academic librarians’ work may happen in the background – it’s not often spoken of or highlighted outside of the highly specialized library world – but their dedication to advancing scholarship in new ways is an important component of the university’s mission of high-quality teaching and research.

Without it, McGrath wouldn’t be able to cut through all the editions produced over the years and engage meaningfully with the original.

Only then can she play it again like it’s the first time.

Click here to see the 1762 edition of Arne’s Artaxerxes.